Momma and I grew up in Ohio, so we remember the glory of the changing leaves.
When we moved to North Carolina we would travel yearly to The Great Smokie Mountains in the fall for our yearly ritual of leaf peeping like almost all old people do. Now Texas….. everything in central Texas stays green. Most of our area is either treeless or covered with Ash Juniper (Cedar) or live oaks which just shed leaves and make a giant mess….but never change color except maybe to brown. The first year we loaded up the grandbabies and headed for Wimberley Texas and the Devil’s Backbone where we were told the leaves change. Not so. There were a few trees that changed but mostly the same green cedar and live oak.
Then I read about the lost maples near Vanderpool. I took a daytrip to the area to check it out and hike around the park to see if it was doable by my non hiking wife. It was a gorgeous place even on a hot summer day. I put together a trip in mid-November to take Momma leaf peeping! And it was a great trip.
” And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves….Virginia Woolf
Lost Maples is a Texas State Natural Area in Bandera and Real Counties near the town of Vanderpool. Why is it called Lost Maples? The park is full of Uvalde Bigtooth Maples and no one knows why or how they came to be in the Canyon of the Sabinal River.
As always, the hiking is the trip for me but for Momma it’s the other things that excite her. She likes General Stores so to start this trip we headed for Camp Verde and its general store and restaurant. Camp Verde was established in 1856 as the headquarters of the US Army Camel Corps. Yes, more history coming at you.
The US Army experimented with using camels as military animals in the deserts of the southwestern US. The problem was camels don’t get along well with horses and mules. the latter two animals detest them and bolt at first smell of them. Likewise, the troops also hated the odor of the camels. I don’t know what a camel smells like but it must not be a good thing!
Anyway we walked into the restaurant at 10:57 and we’re told we were too late for breakfast although they supposedly served breakfast until 11. I Dunno………
So we ate a great lunch and went to the General Store which has been there since 1856 or so. Today it is more modern… more of a gift shop and boutique then a general store. But interestingly enough the town post office is still there as in days of old.
Next stop…..Bandera and it’s general store.
We went into the Bandera General Store where it is obviously the place in Bandera to buy a pair of cowboy boots if you don’t mind wearing used ones. Yep used cowboy boots. There was also an old fashioned soda counter where we had planned to eat some ice cream. Unfortunately we are still in the Covid-19 pandemic. Oh! the counter was opened for business but no one in the store or in the town for that matter was wearing a mask or social distancing. We felt it safer to move on and try this at a later time.
Seven Canyons Ranch is where we booked a place to stay. Nice ranch, very nice, but man it is secluded! It was a long way to everywhere! And this area of Texas has very few restaurants. So, we headed back to Bandera to grocery shop since our cabin had a small kitchen in it.
Next morning it is time to go find fall in Texas at Lost Maples. We did the Maple Trail and the East Trail loop.
After hiking in Lost Maples we went on to Garner State Park in Concan, Texas about 35 minutes away. This was a beautiful park with the Frio River running through it.
it looks like we found a place to go for our yearly leaf peeping tour. What an enjoyable trip.